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  • 1/31/2009

Peres says Israel kills for democracy


President Shimon Peres insists Israel is a "democracy" fighting a noble war against "terroristic" Palestinians.

Israeli President Shimon Peres says the war on Gaza was not "an ugly story", insisting that the global condemnation of Tel Aviv is unjust.

"They try to make the Israeli policy an ugly story," a frustrated Peres was quoted by the Associated Press at a session of the World Economic Forum on Thursday night.

He explained that his outburst was the result of repeated criticism over Israel"s Gaza operation.

Tel Aviv launched Operation Cast Lead on December 27 to put an end to rocket attacks against southern Israeli towns. At least 1,330 Palestinians died during the offensive, while some 5,450 others were hospitalized.

The Israeli army, meanwhile, is accused of committing war crimes and using unconventional weapons during its three-week-long aggression.

The UN Human Rights Watch has confirmed that it has observed the use of white phosphorus by the Israeli military in the densely populated strip.

White phosphorus, classified as a "chemical weapon" by US intelligence, is an incendiary material that causes horrific burns, severe injuries or death when it comes in contact with human skin.

The Israeli president, however, maintains that Tel Aviv is fighting a noble war against Hams -- the democratically-elected ruler of the Gaza Strip.

"Israel is a democracy. It is fighting one of the most dangerous, terroristic, dictatorial groups. All of a sudden to be a humanitarian is to support dictators, to support terror, to support killing innocent people," he said at the forum.

Meanwhile, UK aid agencies say as a result of the Israeli operation in the beleaguered coastal sliver, at least 60 percent of the Gaza population is now living in poverty, with more than one million people dependant on aid to survive.

An angry exchange between President Peres and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan had forced the latter to storm off the stage at the World Economic Forum.

Erdogan had become incensed after the moderator curtailed his response to Peres" angry remarks regarding the recent Israeli military campaign.

The Turkish premier has vowed never to return to the annual gathering.


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